Monday, October 4, 2010

The Kabel Font

History of the Font

Kabel is a geometric sans-serif typeface designed by German typeface designer Rudolf Koch, and released by the Klingspor foundry in 1927. The face was named to honor the newly completed trans-Atlantic telephone cable. Today the typeface is licensed by the Elsner+Flake GbR foundry.

Like its contemporary Futura it bears influence of two earlier geometric sans-serif typefaces; the 1919 Feder Schrift, drawn by Jakob Erbar, and more so his 1922 design called Erbar. Still, Kabel comes less out of the influences of German modernism, but more German expressionism. Stroke weights are more varied than most geometric sans-serifs, and the terminus of vertical strokes are cut to a near eight-degree angle. This has the effect of not quite sitting on the baseline and making for a more animated, less static feeling than Futura. Uppercase characters are broad and show influence of monumental roman capitals. The capital W is splayed and the G has no terminal. Lowercase characters a, e, and g show a link with Carolingian script.

There was a revival of the typeface by Victor Caruso's in 1975 , licensed by D Stempel AG, for the International Typeface Corporation follows the formulary ITC approach of a dramatically increased x-height accompanied by multiple weights from Book to Ultra.

There has been some prominent usage of the font and these uses are:

NBC’s logo typefaces are in Kabel font.

Kabel is used in the logo of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey club.

A shadowed bold weight version of Kabel was used for many years on MTV as the typeface in the opening/closing Lower third credits of music videos.

The same heavy weight Kabel was also used for NBC Sports’ on screen graphics from 1985-8.

A lower-case Kabel font is used as the typeface in the logo and other promotional materials for supermarket chain Piggly Wiggly.

The typeface was used in the titling of the Sofia Coppola film Lost in Translation. The typeface was used in its heavy weight.

The typeface was used in the titling of the Joey (TV Series). The typeface was used in its book weight.

The typeface was also used extensively in the credits and on-screen lyrics for the movie, Yellow Submarine.

Kabel is used in the popular board game Monopoly.

The K Desktop Environment uses Kabel in its logo and related artwork.

A modified use of Kabel is used for the L'eggs Pantyhose logo.

Kabel is used for the cast aluminum lettering on most buildings around Cornell University's Ithaca, New York campus.

ITC Kabel Medium is the font used for the Georgia Times logo.

Kabel is used in the opening and closing credits of Saved By The Bell.

Kabel is used in the O RLY? Internet meme image.

There is an 8 degree of separation on the base line of the Uppercase characters A, Y, X and on the legs of the K and R. This degree of separation is one of the distinctive differences of the Kabel font and futura font. Also the distinctive two story lowercase g.

Kabel is in the Sans Serif font classification and to be more specific the Geometric Sans Serif. In the typographic equivalent of circumcision, sans serif are stripped to the bare minimum by losing the serif appendages. They first appeared broadly in the mid-nineteenth century with the introduction of typefaces carved from wood. The increased production of sans serif in all widths and sizes remains today, as sans serifs prove to be quite malleable.

While it wasn’t the very first sans serif, Akzidenz Grotesk, represents the mechanic structure of the Neo-Grotesques, which featured nearly even widths, as opposed to the Grotesques, which retained some chacteristics of pen-drawn typefaces through slight contrast of thicks and thins. Geometric sans serif, like futura, and Kabel from the 1920s, represent even more logic-driven letterforms peeled of any possible decoration. Humanist sans serif were rooted in the calligraphic traits of fifteenth-century serifs rather than the evolution of woodtypes.

Geometric Sans Serif was a direct result, n the 1920’s of the typography of the modern art movements in Europe and the Bauhaus in Germany, an austere, functional style of sans-serif emerged. These monoline types, which were simply constructed from straight lines, the circle, and the rectangle, stormed onto the typographical scene in the late 1920s.

Bio of Rudolf Koch

Rudolf Koch was born on November 11, 1876 in Nuremberg, Germany. He died on April 9, 1934. Typefaces that he designed:

Deutsche Schrift (1910)

Maximillian Antiqua (1914)

Koch Antiqua/Locano (1922)

Neuland (1923)

Klingspor Schrift (1924 - 26)

Wallou (1925 - 30)

Wilhelm (1925)

Kabel (1927 - 29)

Prisma & Zeppelin (1929)

Jessen (1924 - 30)

Marathon (1931)

Holla (1932)

Neufraktur (1933 - 34)

One of the most respected designers and teachers of his day, Rudolf Koch was the first and foremost a calligrapher and all the types he designed, except one, were developed from the calligraphy. Later in his life he would say, “ Lettering gives me the purest and greatest pleasure, and on countless occasions it has been to me what a song is to a singer.” Koch designed more than a score of faces for Klingspor and towards the end of his career he cut three himself.

Koch was born to the son of sculptor and experienced early misfortune when. In 1886, his father died, and as a result he was soon apprenticed in a metal foundry in Hanau. He attended evening classes at the Art School and left the foundry before completing his apprenticeship. Returning to Nuremberg he tried to train as a teacher and to sit examinations in art but the incompatibility of the Prussian and Bavarian education systems prevented this and in 1898 he found work as a designer in Leipzig.

It was the high time of Jungendstil – art nouveau – an exciting and confusing time for any artist of Koch’s generation, and Koch became a devotee. At about this time he began experimenting with a broad-nibbed pen and found that he was able to master many calligraphic styles, and at last he felt that he was beginning to find his forte.

At the age of 30 he saw an advertisement in a trade magazine for the post of designer in a small firm of typefounders at Offenbach. The company was Rudhardsche Giesserei, Later known as the Klingspor tyefoundry. Koch broadly experienced but with little else to his credit, applied for the job and was accepted. The relationship was to prove a long and fruitful one for Koch, the company and the future of type design in Germany.

Shortly after joining Klingspor, Koch designed his first typeface, Deutsche Schrift, a bold blackletter that occupied him until 1910. As with all his types, his method was to experiment with hand-drawn letter using a broad pen. The same letters would be drawn again and again until every letter was complete and perfect, and the type ready to be cut.

During World War 1 Koch was enlisted and sent to battlefronts in Serbia and France. Discharged in 1918, he was a changed man. As a result he became even more deeply engrossed in his work, and the post-war years were to see the beginning of his most creative and productive period. First came Neuland then Wilhelm Klingspor Schrift, the summit of achievement in a purely blackletter with romanised capitals, created originally for the great edition of the Four Gospels printed by the Klingspor press in 1926.

With Kabel, Koch overcame his personal resistance to the sans serif letter. Designed at the same time as Paul Renner’s more popular Futura, Kabel retains traditional roman forms for a, g, and t, and a venetian e.

By the mid 1920s Koch had founded the Offenbach Werkstatt, a small class of dedicated students consisting of Friedl Heinrichsen, Carl Vollmer, Fritz Kredel, Berthold Wolpe and Richard Bender, many of whom were to have an important role themselves in later years. Despite the fact that circumstances had deprived him of a fine education it was a subject that he took very seriously. “I am nothing but an educator,” he is reported to have said on one occasion.

History of the World

The Nuremberg Rally was an annual rally of the Nazi Party held in Nuremberg. From 1927 on, they ran exclusively in Nuremberg. The primary aspect of the Nuremberg Rallies was to strengthen the personality cult of Adolf Hitler, portraying Hitler as Germany's savior, chosen by providence. The gathered masses listened to the F├╝hrer's speeches, swore loyalty and marched before him. Representing the Volksgemeinschaft as a whole, the rallies served to demonstrate the might of the German people. The visitors of the rallies by their own free will were subordinate to the discipline and order in which they should be reborn as a new people.

Nuremberg was selected for pragmatic reasons: It was situated in the center of the German Reich and the local Luitpoldhain was well suited as a venue. The rallies were held under the label of Reichsparteitage des deutschen Volkes ("National Congress of the Party of the German People"), which was meant to symbolize the solidarity between the German people and the Nazi Party. This point was further emphasized by the yearly growing number of participants, which finally reached over half a million from all sections of the party, the army and the state. Propaganda movies were made for the rallies and official films for the rallies began in 1927, with the establishment of the NSDAP film office.

Although this was what was happening in Nuremberg during the time the font was made, the font actually reflects the art movement during the time known as German Expressionism. This refers to a number of related creative movements beginning in Germany before the First World War that reached a peak in Berlin, during the 1920s. These developments in Germany were part of a larger Expressionist movement in north and central European culture. Kabel also has been believed to be made to compete with the existing font, Futura, both being Geometric Sans Serif and released during the same year.


Here is the link to my first project!

Sunday, October 3, 2010


San Serif

Name of designer: Rudolf Koch

Released in 1927 by Klingspor

Classification: Geometric Sans Serif

Family members:





ITC Kabel Family:





Font Classification

Old Style - also call Gerald is generally considered “warm” or friendly, thanks to its origins in Renaissance humanism.

-low contrast with diagonal stress

-cove or “bracketed” serifs

-based on handwriting

Bembo, Caslon, Garamond, Jenson, Palatino

Transitional - this style forms the transition between Renaissance Old Style and Modern typefaces. With the change from the woodcut to copperplate engravings in the 17th Century, the lines of the letters became more fine and rich in contrast.

-bracketed serifs

-contrast between thick and thin strokes is more pronounced

-tall x-height

Times New Roman, Baskerville, Caslon, Perpetua, Bell

Modern - also called Didone, Modern typefaces arose with the distribution of copper and steel engraving techniques in the 17th and 18th Century. The appearance is technical exact.

-mathematical construction /measurements

-extreme contrast between thick and thin strokes

-hairline serifs

Bodoni, Bauer Bodoni, Walbaum, Aster, Didot, Ellington

Slab Serif - At the beginning of the 19th Century typefaces were used for attracting attention and were in demand for advertising, posters, flyers, business and private printed matters. Egyptian and Grotesque typefaces arose from Modern typefaces.

-square ended serifs

-mono weight

-geometric impact

Serifa, Rockwell, Memphis, Clarendon, New Century Schoolbook

Sans Serif - Sans-serif typefaces influenced by the Bauhaus movement and featuring circular or geometric letters, with little variation in stroke thickness. There are three types Geometric, Humanist and Grotesque. Geometric is built around geometric forms, Humanist have oval shapes and variations in stroke thickness to create a more graceful, human appearance, and Grotesque has an upright character makes it similar to transitional serif letters.

-no serif

-mono weight

-no stress

Kabel, Futura, Frutiger, Helvetica, Gill Sans

Script - is based upon the varied and often fluid stroke created by handwriting. They are organized into highly regular formal types similar to cursive writing and looser, more casual scripts. Two types formal and casual.

-based on handwriting

-high stress

-sans serif

Kuenstler Script, Snell Roundhand, Brush Script, Kaufmann, Mistral

Blackletter - based on early written forms, blackletter is a style of typeface that features elaborate thick to thin strokes and serifs.

-elobarate strokes

-based on hand written forms

-thick/thin strokes

Old English, Gothic, Textura, Schwabacher, Fraktur

Grunge - a “dirty” font with irregular, sometimes even ugly and crooked visual elements.

-texture element to each letter

-can be serif or sans serif

-parts of letters may be missing

Turbo Ripped, Dirty Ames, Sidewalk, Neoprint M319, Trashed

Monospaced - typefaces in which every glyph is the same width.

-characters share the same width

-slab serif

-mono stroke width

Courier, Prestige Elite, Fixedsys, Monaco, Lucida typewriter

Undeclared - Typefaces that contain sans serif structures attached to flared serifs.

-thick stroke widths

-wide horizantal axis

-small glyphic serifs

Optima, Copperplate Gothic, Aviano serif, Imperium, Copperplate